Catch up time for Yakima's fire inspectors

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima's fire inspectors are back in a very busy way.

Each day they scout out every nook and cranny looking for potential danger for local families.

"Anything that has to do with public safety in jeopardy, or any firefighter in peril, those are the things we look for," says fire inspector Tony Doan.

Doan has been on the job for a month now. As a career firefighter, he's used to working under the heat, but his current job could be the most hectic.

"We're finding a lot of things that are not kept up because they haven't been checked up on."

When Yakima's budget went south, the city cut the only fire inspector it had. A year went by before the city decided to reinstate two inspector positions.

While that decision gave Doan his job, it's not without its challenges. Think of it as a giant game of catch-up.

In the year when there were no inspections, many businesses got lax on following the rules. These days, it's now Doan's job to make sure those businesses are back in compliance. This year, he and his co-worker will visit every single business in Yakima. They showed up at Jose Torres' furniture store a few months ago.

"It reassures our customers coming in that there's not stuff all over the place," Torres says. "It's good for them and good for me."

Nothing goes unnoticed. Not a faulty fire entinguisher, or a damaged wire, or even a crowded aisle. Doan usually makes 20 business visits a day. A pair of I-Pads make it worthwhile. At the tap of a screen, Doan can send vital information to the a business's owner.

"We send them the email and it's in their inbox," Doan tells KIMA.

It will take another year for Doan to get caught up on his work. The goal is simple: inspect Yakima's buildings now, to avoid disaster in the future.